• Interview Success: Five Easy Tips for Making a Great First Impression

    May 25, 2012 by
    Cathy Eng

    Cathy Eng, Certified Advanced Resume Writer

    Some experts say more than 90% of communication is non-verbal, and in this ultra competitive job market you must pay attention to every silent detail in order to make an impression. Why? Because there are many other candidates out there who are equally qualified and dedicated, and who know how to make a great first impression.

    But there are lots of ways to get the edge utilizing your professional appearance, communication, and attitude. You may think, ‘Surely employers aren’t so shallow that they will judge me based on my appearance.’ While a lot more goes into their impression of you, your appearance is certainly a big part.

    By showing an employer that you know how to make a great first impression and you have attention to detail, you can communicate way more than you may think. Here are some basic and sometimes overlooked areas that make a big difference in an interview:

    Your attitude: It is important to get along with the hiring manager/interviewer. It doesn’t matter if you like them personally, but you must make an effort to connect with them. While it can be harmful to appear too agreeable, timid or aloof, coming off as too pushy, overconfident or disinterested can also turn away a hiring manager. It boils down to being confident, honest, and personable.

    Your attire: You don’t have to wear an Armani suit or Prada heels to tell an employer you are dressed for success, but you do have to dress neatly with absolutely no wrinkles or stains on your clothing. Your clothing should fit well, but not be too tight.

    Ladies, do not wear skirts ending above the knee, heels above 2 1/2 inches, or deep “v” camisoles. It is simply inappropriate and can make the interviewer uncomfortable when your chest is staring at them. Dressing provocatively simply has no place at work.

    Men, invest in a suit (including a tie depends on the company). It is true that the American workplace is less formal than it used to be, but job interviewing is a very important exception to that trend. Check the corporate culture to see what is appropriate before  showing up to an interview in a polo and unpressed khakis. Even if you are applying to a mailroom job, adopt the very wise adage: Dress for the next position you want!

    Your “essence”(a.k.a. hygiene): We all know to lay off the cologne when going to an interview, but it bears repeating. Of course, men should also have a haircut, shave, and a light spray of cologne, but nothing else. For the ladies, neat hair, minimal jewelry, and light on the perfume. At the end of the day, the company needs to see you as upholding their reputation as a representative, so it’s important to convey to a company that you are prepared to represent them in the best possible light.

    Your greeting: A firm handshake, strong eye contact, and a simple, confident introduction will never go out of style. Employers want to know you are self-assured and know your worth. A good conversational rule of thumb is to let them talk first and be a respectful listener.

    Your interview communication: Rehearse as much as possible beforehand with another person and have them point out your verbal and nonverbal ticks (e.g.  saying “um” too much, fidgeting, using poor grammar, rambling, laughing too much, talking too fast). These are easy to pick up on when a hiring manager has interview hundreds of candidates, and they send strong signals. They know you are nervous but they need to know you can overcome that.

    Attention to detail goes beyond an error-free resume or available references. When you are competing against dozens or even hundreds of applicants that may have the same or better qualifications, you had better look beyond the obvious and get the edge however you can!

    Author: Cathy Eng, Certified Advanced Resume Writer

    Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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